Construction workers laying ground for a new hotel in the region of Roman Bath hit upon the largest hoard of Roman coins ever uncovered in England. The hoard contains more than 30,000 silver pieces dating to around 270 CE. This time period coincides with withdrawal of the Roman Empire from the frontier and waves of “barbarian” invasions on the island. In a time before banks, rapid burials of ones personal assets was common (and if the owner didn’t return for some reason, they are regularly found by construction workers and treasure hunters with metal detectors).
The coins at some point were exposed to extreme heat and are fused together – making precise dating and identification difficult.
“Conservators at the British Museum are taking a whole year to do the work. There are believed to be more than 30,000 coins, making this one of the fifth largest hoards ever found in Britain and the largest from a Roman town,”
Although the Romans never actually went to ireland, confining themselves to the Big Island (and only making a brief foray into Scotland), it turns out that the Irish occupants did in fact interact with the Romans.
A new Irish Archaeological organization called the Discovery Programme is beginning to research how much of the Romans impacted and interacted with the Irish (including investigations into the possibility of a Roman invasion). While Irish archaeologists have uncovered Roman goods (ceramic-ware, beads, jewelry, etc), until now there has been little investigation into Ireland’s “Roman heritage.”
An entirely unique ‘winged’ structure has been discovered by archaeologist working in England, just outside of Norfolk. The building has no parallels in the Roman Empire and is clearly distinct from other structures in the Roman world (both within and outside of Britain).
“Generally speaking, (during) the Roman Empire people built within a fixed repertoire of architectural forms,” Prof Bowden
The structure appears to be connected to a villa complex nearby, but archaeologists are still unsure how the structure fits in with the urban landscape.
An elaborate Roman helmet, after nine years of restoration, finally goes on display at the British Museum. The helmet dates to approximately 43 CE, around the time of the Roman invasion of Britain and supports the idea that the Romans were able to recruit local Celts to fight on their side.
“We normally think of the Roman conquest of Britain as Romans versus us. Here you probably have a situation where local Britons are fighting on the Roman side.”
After nine years of restoration, the Hallaton helmet will go on display and help archaeologists to further understand the complex relationship of the Romans and native Britons.
To read more about this discovery, see the article in the BBC News and at MSNBC.
Archaeologists working at a recently discovered Roman fort in Camelon Scotland have uncovered more than 120 leather shoes. The find is remarkable, not only for the fact that it is the best evidence for a Roman presence this far North, but the level of preservation.
In addition to the shoes, archaeologists have also found coins, jewelry, pottery, and animal bones. The fort was located along the Antonine Wall, the short lived earthen barrier built by the Romans in Northern Britain in their ill-fated attempt to further their presence in the ‘barrens’ of Scotland.
Archaeologists working in Falkirk Scotland have announced that they have uncovered two Roman forts and a bounty of archaeological remains (such as axes, bones, jewelry, and leather shoes). The discovery is exciting as there is little evidence remaining of the Roman occupation of Scotland.
“This will be one of the most important finds in the Falkirk area for decades and one of the best ones we’ve been involved with… This proves that the Romans were there for a greater length of time, which is different to their normal routine of coming in, building something and then tearing it down so the natives can’t use it once they have left.”
Excavations at the sight have only just begun and further digging is expected to continue along with wide-spread conservation efforts. To read more about this find, see the article in the Scotsman.